AutosNew THC limits for drivers spark changes in Germany

New THC limits for drivers spark changes in Germany

Germany introduces law in response to marijuana legalization
Germany introduces law in response to marijuana legalization
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7:53 AM EDT, June 10, 2024

As of April 1, marijuana is partially legal in Germany. A new set of rules has been established for drivers who get behind the wheel after using it. The new limit will take effect in July and, in extreme cases, will be zero.

When marijuana became - like alcohol - a legal substance in Germany, it became clear that an official THC limit for drivers would be necessary. Otherwise, each case would have to be adjudicated by the court, potentially paralyzing the justice system. The alcohol limit in Germany is 0.05 percent and 0.00 percent for beginner drivers, those who have had their license for less than two years and are under 21 years old, and 0.00 percent for professional drivers. What about driving after using marijuana?

According to the German automobile club ADAC, starting in July, our western neighbors will enforce a limit of 3.5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood serum. In terms of its impact on driving, this equates to a blood alcohol content of 0.02 percent. This is precisely the THC level that specialists in this field recommended to the German government in March 2024. However, there's a catch.

Drivers who are under 21 and have had their license for less than two years will have a different limit - 1.0 nanogram of THC. But that's not all.

A 0.0 THC limit will apply to those who drive with any amount of alcohol in their blood. This rule also works in reverse. A driver who has the allowable amount of THC in their system must have a zero blood alcohol limit. In this way, the German government aims to prevent instances of driving under the influence of both substances. After all, it's hard to determine the impact on driving abilities when marijuana and alcohol are used together.

Drivers in Germany will need to keep this rule in mind because police drug testing equipment is generally susceptible and can detect traces of marijuana use even after 4 or 5 days. In practice, this means one can get into trouble even days after smoking marijuana and directly after consuming a very small amount of alcohol.

According to the ADAC, the penalty for driving with a THC concentration of 3.5 nanograms or more will be approximately $530. Additionally, the driver will face a one-month driving ban. For mixed consumption, the penalty will be roughly $1060, and for repeat offenders, approximately $3700.

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